Despite my recent absence, things have been cooking along here at the farm. In fact, I’m going to borrow from a friend and serve up this update list-style…
– Will finished converting the floating deck/hippie hut/tea house structure at the top of the hill into a run in shed for the sheep. He only needs to attach the gate. Of course, the sheep don’t actually sleep in it, and they even leave a look out when they go inside to eat grain, but we’re hoping they’ll get over this.
– Our Rouen drake (read: male) molted, and now he looks like a fat mallard, with his shiny green head and white collar. A week ago he looked no different from the ladies.
– Thanksgiving No. 1 (our house, weekend before) went well. I nailed the pecan pie, hit the pumpkin pie in terms of flavor but needed to bake it another 3 minutes to get a better custard setting. Will rocked the world out of some stuffing. Learning experience – turkey can be too fresh. We picked our up less than 24 hours after slaughter and the bird was tough. Turns out rigor mortis doesn’t “leave” the turkey for 24 hours (whereas chickens they say it’s gone in 4 hours but that you still shouldn’t eat them for 24 hours). Who knew?
– Will pressed another 5 bushels of apples, so now we have a 5 gallon carboy to which he added hefeweizen yeast bubbling away in the basement, and a 3 gallon and 1 gallon carboy sitting outside as an attempt at natural fermentation.
– Thanksgiving No. 2 (in NJ) allowed us to break some locavore (have I ever mentioned how much I hate that term? anyway…) rules by driving a turkey that’s local to our house another 300 miles away for dinner. This bird was killed Monday and not eaten until Thursday and it was absolutely perfect, confirming for Will that he did not, in fact, totally f-up the last turkey. As I was with out my kitchen aide, all pies were from Whole Foods, although Will did blow my family’s mind with some homemade gravy… what can I say, Jersey folk buy theirs in jar form. Even the vegetarian who didn’t touch the bird slathered some on his mashed potatoes. Mmm, gravy soaked mashed potatoes.
– The little brother and I made a camera trade, whereby he got a top of the line new point and click and I got his old SLR. I totally made out on this deal, and owe the man a case of wine, but now you have him to thank for what may hopefully be some improved photography around these parts.
– Alston likes New Jersey, because in his mind it’s the land of giant leaf piles and lots of Italian looking people who dote on him endlessly and always bring gifts that make noise.
– Our first morning back from the North East Corridor, we lost a guinea hen. Something ate its head and entrails, which I’ve read is typical of raccoons. I’d be sad, but part of me is all “that’s what you get for insisting on sleeping on TOP of your enclosure instead of safely locked inside it.”
– We got out Christmas tree from Foxfire Farm just across the James River. Great selection for a cut your own place. I highly recommend it.
We usually get white pines, for the practicality that the needles are soft, the aesthetics that they diffuse the lights smashingly, and just for the sentimentality that my dad and I always used to pick out a white pine when we’d cut our tree. Before Will and I were married, I insisted that we find a cut your own place, as that’s what I’d always done growing up – to the point that my father would wait until I came home from college to get a tree, even if that meant hunting through a field of rejects on December 23rd. Of course, the year I said that, we spent the holidays with my parents only to find they’d bought a fake tree. So now I’ve taken it upon myself to carry out the tradition.
This year we went a little crazy in terms of size.